RECITING PSALMS According to The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, when people make the effort to do three kind acts a day, depressive symptoms drop by 94 percent. Our beloved mother passed away last week, not unexpectedly. During her lifetime, especially the latter decades, she was an avid Psalms reader, reciting chapters on behalf of others.
While we can’t prove a direct link between her words and the healing witnessed, it was known people wanted to be on her recipients list. So this brief comment is in her memory; may the neshama of the late Brainah Leah bat Moshe Aharon be elevated in Heaven.
‘Happy is the man that didn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful.’ אַשְׁרֵי הָאִישׁ– אֲשֶׁר לֹא הָלַךְ, בַּעֲצַת רְשָׁעִים; וּבְדֶרֶךְ חַטָּאִים, לֹא עָמָד, וּבְמוֹשַׁב לֵצִים, לֹא יָשָׁב.
This first verse which begins the book of Psalms, speaks in the past tense. It reminds us that sooner than we might wish, our days will be behind us. And, by then, the most important aspect will be whether we’ve lived a ‘good life’ or not.
Each of us over the course of our years, may they be long, experiences different beginnings and endings somewhat like chapters in a book; an example relevant to the summer might be finishing secondary school and going on to University.
Once such a chapter closes it becomes virtually impossible to go back to it. And thus, our lives become a tapestry of the vast accumulation of those personal choices we’ve made.
When they’re occurring we often find it impossible to know which choice is best, i.e. which university would be better for our educational needs and future aspirations? Though in hindsight, we can sometimes more clearly see the measure of our results.
King David, the attributed author of Psalms, who lived nearly 2,800 years ago is telling us to lead a ‘good life’ based on the Torah’s wisdom, because once our years come to fruition, their reward or punishment WILL BE our accumulated life experience. In essence, let’s try to make every decision a good one!
Just to share a much needed Facebook comment at a moment when it is too easy to find reason to hate others, this is from Herschel Gluck:
‘In my whole life I don’t recall a time when there was so much hatred. Some members of one group hate another group, thinking they’re right and you must be committing the cardinal sin if you think otherwise.
Hatred only generates and increases hatred. It is certainly not a solution .During this solemn period in the Jewish calendar we’re meant to reflect on this and realize that a better world for EVERYBODY is our goal and is achieved through increasing acts and words of kindness and goodness for ALL people.’